Well, it was not a good week for finding something positive to say to everyone all the time. In fact, I pretty much failed at it. I tried. No, really, I did.
We had a situation. Our 8-bed unit was full, ICU was full, and between us, we were 3 people short. My little orientee, now on her own, but still on my schedule for assistance, was struggling to handle her assignment. She had a patient who really should have been in ICU, but they, as mentioned before, had no beds. I was so busy with my patients, I couldn’t do more than shoot off advice as we passed in the med room. In addition, the phone was ringing off the desk, call lights were going off in 3 rooms at once, and there was no one to help.
A man appeared before me. A very irate man. A very irate man whose mother had called for Morphine 30 minutes after taking another narcotic, and hadn’t gotten it. A nurse had tripped over her IV earlier in the day and half the day was spent in X-Ray trying to replace it, and the nurse hadn’t even apologized. There wasn’t even ICE WATER in her pitcher to comfort her, for God’s sake! She was one of us (a CNA from a physician's office), but he knew there were priority patients. He was going to take this up with Someone In Charge in the morning.
I listened with what I hoped was a caring look on my face. I apologized for the day nurse’s clumsiness. I informed him Debbie had asked me about the morphine and I had advised her to wait and reassess his mom to insure she did not get over-sedated. I would have Debbie reassess her now. I promised to go fetch the ice water right away, even though I was holding the pain pills for my post-op patient in my hot little hand. And ALL of our patients are our priority. But when he spouted off that “this was supposed to be a special care unit, For Crying Out Loud!” I forgot my resolution.
“Sir, look around you,” I told him as I waved my hand around the unit. “Do you SEE anyone else here? No? That's because there are only the two of us, running our butts off, and we are doing the best we can. I’m sorry that’s not good enough for you.” He walked off without another word. So did I.
In retrospect, I still can’t think of anything positive to say to that man. He made Debbie cry.